You may have seen in the news recently that over 40 Vice Chancellors have signed an open letter to the Education Minister Damian Hinds calling for a legislative ban on ‘Essay Mills’ services. ‘Essay Mills’ is a blanket term referring to companies that allow students to purchase custom made essays.
NUSU strongly opposes the operation of any company that exploits the stress experienced by students for profit. At the October meeting of our Student Council, 97% of students voted in favour of a legislative ban on Essay Mills services. This Council motion also mandates NUSU’s Education Officer to actively engage in tackling this issue with the University and fully support students so that they do not have to turn to these services.
Since October, I have met with University staff to discuss how to tackle the underlying issues which drive students to use Essay Mills. We will be working together to inform students of the dangers of using these services and signpost them towards University services such as the Writing Development Service, Maths Aid, Personal Tutor support and the Academic Skills Kit. At this week’s University Education Committee (UEC) University staff and NUSU will have the opportunity to discuss the issue at length and come up with further solutions that provide academic support for students.
The Universities Minister Sam Gyimah has previously “stated that legislative options are not off the table”, but also encouraged Universities to take steps to tackle the issue. But NUSU’s position on ‘Essay Mills’ as a service is firm; these companies should not be permitted to operate in the UK and a legislative ban is necessary to ensure that no student is subject to exploitation.